In his book Climbing Everest, British mountaineer George Mallory wrote that surmounting that lofty peak is “the struggle of life itself.” Apparently, that struggle doesn’t always include people picking up after themselves.
A recent government-led expedition up Mount Everest removed over 11 tons of trash from the world’s highest peak left behind by those so-called nature lovers who yearn to climb mountains but can’t be bothered to bring their trash down the mountain with them. Much of the trash left littering up the mountain was single-use plastics, like straws and cups and food packaging. To help those mountain lovers do the right thing, officials have announced a ban on single-use plastics in the Mount Everest region, specifically the municipality of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu, which is home to Mount Everest, in the hopes of reducing the trash left behind by thrill-seeking litterbugs.
The new ban goes into effect January 2020 and covers all plastics less than 30 microns in thickness, according to AFP. This includes plastic bags, straws, soda and water bottles, and most food packaging, the Hindu reported.
“We will be working with the local body, trekking companies and the Mountaineering Association of Nepal to enforce the ban,” local official Ganesh Ghimire told AFP, adding that they would also launch an awareness campaign about plastic pollution. As for locals who live near Mount Everest, “they will be provided with five plastic bags of different types and sizes which they can use for daily activities.”
It’s a start to cleaning up one of the world’s natural wonders, and it will have to do until a giant Monty Python-esque finger descends from the heavens to point at the trash and say, “This is why you can’t have nice things.”